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Moderate Islam Does Not Explain The Protests

Reader comment on item: A Million Moderate Muslims on the March

Submitted by Andrew Stunich (United States), May 14, 2007 at 16:24

Dr. Pipes states: "Do developments in Pakistan and Turkey not confirm my oft-repeated point that radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam the solution? " I believe that, while well meaning, Dr. Pipes has not analyzed the situation accurately.

It is not moderate Islam that is fueling the protests in Turkey and Pakistan. The opposition results, in large part, despite the tenets of Islam and not because of Islamic Doctrine. I have yet to see in moderate Islam the strong religious fervor that drives significant opposition to Islamism. I believe the protests are simply the result of additional, non-Islamic ideological influences, as well as living in proximity to Islamism and recognizing its associated terrors. The opposition to Islamism is driven by an assortment of ideological influences and common sense factors, but I do not see moderate Islam as a significant driving force.

If moderate Islam were such a driving force, it would be manifested in vastly stronger Islamic opposition to Islamism worldwide. We do not see strong opposition to Islamism worldwide from moderate Muslims because even moderate Muslims seem, at some level, to recognize the doctrinal support for much, albeit not all, Islamism and they are, therefore, less than strident in opposing Islamism.

The protests in Turkey and Pakistan reflect, for the most part, that millions have been influenced by many competing ideologies and do not wish to lose more freedoms to Islamism or to be subject to Sharia Law. I suspect that little of the opposition is actually fueled by moderate Islamic Doctrine. It is simply that moderate Islamic Doctrine has not overcome the protesters' natural repugnance to Islamism.

That these moderate Muslims take a stronger stand against Islamism than many Western leftists simply reflects their closer experience with the realities of Islamism. Much in the same way that conservative New Yorkers are humorously referred to as liberals who have been mugged, these moderate Muslims are simply recoiling from the repressive reality of Islamism that they have seen or experienced. It is an experience many Westerners seem bound to have to experience personally before the true nature of the Islamist threat becomes apparent to them.


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